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    Bob BMW
    CAR: #1956-Bristol-405D / #Bristol-405D / #Bristol-405 / #Bristol / #1956 / #Bristol-100B

    Year of manufacture 1956
    Recorded mileage 25,852
    Asking price £175,000
    Vendor Pendine, Bicester Heritage, Oxfordshire; tel: 07770 762751;

    Price £3189
    Max power 105bhp / DIN
    Max torque 112lb ft / DIN
    0-60mph 14 secs
    Top speed 102mph
    Mpg 23

    This splendid and rare convertible (43 built, out of 308 405s), bodied by ED Abbott of Farnham, was originally dove grey – but when the previous owner saw another in this colour she had it resprayed, by the factory, in 2011. It was specced from new with overdrive, heater, windscreen washers plus fog and spotlamps, and has been owned by Simon Draper.

    The paint remains very smart, over a straight body that’s only slightly rippled when you sight down the sides. Door fit is good, as is the bumper chrome (and H4 lights). The hubcaps aren’t dinged, but the doorhandles are lightly pickled. The refinished wheels are shod with 2005 Cinturatos and the spare is unused. It’s very clean underneath, with fresh-looking exhaust.

    Inside, the leather still seems fairly new, with the driver’s seat squab going a little baggy and the rear seat base lightly cracked. The dashboard veneer is excellent apart from some flaws in the lacquer near the original Radiomobile, and there are some small nicks in the leather at the edge of the instrument binnacle. One tonneau pin is missing from the top of the left door. The boot is neatly trimmed though smells a little musty.

    The motor, a standard 100B unit, has been refinished and abounds with thoughtful touches, such as the spare fanbelt already clipped into place around the water pump, and the lockwiring to the pump’s lubrication plug, plus spin-on oil filter. The carbs appear to have been rebuilt, with no leaks, plus there’s a new distributor cap and fuel pipes. Coolant is to a good level, oil golden and to the ‘High’ mark; there were two small drips on the floor.

    It starts instantly with no nasty clatters or smoke, though it takes a while to warm up sufficiently to idle cleanly. It drives sweetly, with fluid steering and chassis, nice brakes and gearchange, plus overdrive working promptly on top. As ever, you marvel that such a substantial-looking car does so well on 2 litres, but lightness (1240kg) is on its side. When warm, oil pressure is 40psi at tickover and 80psi at 3000rpm, with the ammeter showing a strong charge. Temperature struggled to get up to 70ºC. The 405 will be sold with invoices from Bristol totting up to £28k since 2007.


    EXTERIOR Paint still good; decent chrome
    INTERIOR Leather just settling in nicely
    MECHANICALS Drives well, with strong oil pressure; lots of recent bills

    VALUE 7/10

    For As the advertisement says, ‘a noble European tourer’
    Against Potential ongoing upkeep


    This 405 has no issues, needs or worries and, with only 25 thought to remain, these don’t come up for sale often.
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    Rob Scorah
    1961 Bristol 406 £85,000

    This finely engineered gentleman’s express is one of just 174 built, and it’s in ready-to-enjoy condition, says Rob Scorah.

    The general condition of this Bristol’s deep maroon paint is very good – no bubbles or fading, though there are small chips near the filler cap and to the edge of the bonnet and doors, and light scratches to the top coat on the nearside wing. Alloy body panels look to be in fine shape – symmetrical side-to- side with consistent panel gaps. The opening wing laps that allow access to the spare tyre and battery sit completely lush when closed. Door jambs are clean and the underside of the car is very sound.

    Chrome is largely up to the standard of the paint, though that on the bonnet vent is dull and weathered. Also, the rubbers and brightwork of the windscreen and rear window surround show light cracks and a little distress. There’s rust in a couple of the screws of the radiator grille, though the deep surround itself, as well as the bumpers, look in fine fettle. There’s a little surface rust in the steel wheels’ recesses.

    Inside, the coupé again gives a good impression, looking generally well cared-for and maintaining a good balance between authenticity and ongoing upkeep.

    The grey leather is supple and retains its colour, and the maroon piping looks tidy. The sides of the front seats and headrests show some scuffing. Though handsome, the Moto-Lita steering wheel is not original. However, a correct-type example (not as good-looking) will also be supplied with the car.

    The wood trim, while largely intact and showing good grain, has lost its colour and lacquer in some places. This is mainly under the windscreen and around the rear edges of the quarterlights where the window opens. There are no signs of damage in the surrounding material. The dashboard itself is a deep rich brown. Floors are solid and interior fittings feel firm and function as they should.

    The engine bay has a workmanlike tidiness with everything in the right place and no signs of leaks or overheating. The comprehensive service history attests to five owners’ worth of diligent care. It includes handwritten letters from a garage (1976), many hefty invoices from Bristol specialist Spencer Lane Jones, plus records of a rear axle rebuild and an overhaul of the ‘one-shot’ lubrication system. Confirmed mileage now sits at 66,193.

    The clutch is light enough for one of these and, though the steering is heavy at parking speeds, it drives without sloppy tolerances in steering or suspension.

    The 2.2-litre pulls from low enough in the revs so as not to make town driving a rowing exercise, while cruising remains relaxed but flexible. Overdrive pops in and out very smoothly and decent acceleration is only a crisp gear throw away. Water temperature sits in the lower half of the gauge and oil pressure is on 60psi.
    There may be some negotiating room given those untidy details mentioned, but considering this example’s solid history, strong mechanicals and the scarcity of these cars, don’t expect to come too far south of the asking price.


    404 introduces hole-in-the-wall grille in 1953. Engine is a 1971cc six; 52 made. Longer wheelbase four-dour 405 Saloon arrives in 1954 – 265 of which are made – along with 43 405 Drophead Coupés, now highly collectable.

    Taking over from the 405 in 1957, the heavier 406 raised engine capacity to 2216cc. Body now steel rather than wood-framed; four-wheel disc brakes are standard it. In total 174 are built.

    1959 Earl’s Court Motor Show sees launch of quirkily styled, triple-carb 406 Zagato. Much lighter than regular 406s, only seven were made and now command double the price of the regular factory offering.

    406 replaced in 1961 by the Bristol 407, which looked similar but had a 5130cc Chrysler V8.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #1961-Bristol-406 / #1961 / #Bristol-406 / #Bristol

    Price £85,000
    Contact Old Timer Manchester (, 01944 758000)
    Engine 2216 inline-six, ohv
    Power 105bhp @ 4700rpm
    Torque 129lb ft @ 3000rpm
    Performance Top speed: 107mph; 0-60mph: 14sec
    Fuel consumption 15mpg
    Length 4978mm (196in)
    Width 1727mm (68in)

    Non-original wheel is well-matched to dashboard.
    Bristol six quickly settles into an even, rattle-free tickover.
    Some details require attention but all panels fit flush.
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    CAR BRISTOL 407 / 407
    Year of manufacture #1962
    Recorded mileage 44,265
    Asking price £59,950
    Vendor SLJ Hackett, Warminster, Wilts; tel: 01985 219551; www. sljhackett. co. uk

    WHEN IT WAS NEW #Bristol-407 / #Bristol / #Chrysler-V8 / #Chrysler-Torqueflite / #Torqueflite / #Chrysler
    Price £4848
    Max power 250bhp
    Max torque 340lb ft
    0-60mph 9.9 secs
    Top speed 122mph
    Mpg 14-20

    Bristol built 88 407s: bar a few details, they looked almost identical to the six-cylinder 406 but were the first with a Chrysler 5.2 V8 and Torqueflite auto. They were considered to be more ponderous than the sixes and not as nice to drive as later models (409 onwards) with power steering. Such prejudices are fading, however, and more examples are being properly restored as values have begun to justify the cost of sorting a 407.

    That said, this car’s price probably does not cover the recent invoices in its detailed history file. Expenditure over the past two years includes electric power steering, a high-torque starter and an alternator. It’s had new dampers, rebuilt front suspension and the Edelbrock carb overhauled. Interestingly, the buff logbook shows that 6407 UR was supplied new not by Anthony Crook Motors but by RF Fuggle, which was the only other official Bristol agent at the time. It sits well on fresh Pirelli Cinturatos, the paint is excellent, the shutlines uniform and the doors don’t sag. The carpets are good and could be original – likewise the mid-green leather.

    The veneers are fine, but the image is let down by a Dymo Tape label for the Kenlowe control. It’s nice to see the HMV pushbutton radio still in residence, though we are not sure that the grey headlining is quite right. There are no horrors in either of the wing bays and it has a superb engine compartment, with fresh-looking hoses, a rebuilt radiator and you can just about spot the red-capped distributor housing electronic ignition. Only the modern fusebox, some ugly blue spade connectors on the twin horns and minor corrosion to the brake master cylinder lower the tone. The Bristol catches quickly from cold, feeling brisk and refined, with a quiet back axle and supple, rattle-free ride. Being a 407, you enjoy the novelty of the pushbutton gear selectors to the right of the dashboard. And you are only really aware of the electric assistance at low speeds.

    EXTERIOR Top-quality paintwork
    INTERIOR Lovely; hide smells magnificent
    MECHANICALS Nicely fettled; useful upgrades
    VALUE ★★★★★★★✩✩✩

    For One of few fully sorted 407s; its electric PAS is not intrusive
    Against Not cheap, but you can spend lots more on a ’60s Bristol: SLJ has a mint 410 for £89,950

    Yes, if you want the pretty looks of a six-cylinder model, but with #V8 refinement and power.
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    BRISTOL 411

    Year of manufacture #1975
    Recorded mileage 54,637
    Asking price £59,950
    Vendor Bristol Cars, Kensington, London; tel: 020 7603 5555;

    WHEN IT WAS NEW / #Bristol-411 / #Bristol / #Bristol-411-Series-5 /
    Price £7795 (1973 UK)
    Engine V8 6.6-litre
    Max power 264bhp
    Max torque 335lb ft
    0-60mph 7.8 secs
    Top speed 140mph
    Mpg 13

    While it was mechanically identical to the S4, with the 6554cc #V8 and self-levelling rear suspension, the S5 packed more safety features, including inertia-reel seatbelts. It was identified by the all-black grille. This one has a full maker’s service history, with invoices from new on file (we are told, and this is Bristol so they will definitely be there). It was owned by the chairman of the Bristol OC from 2008 and, for the eight years prior, it changed hands within the club. Most recently (2014), it’s had the front seats rebuilt and reupholstered, plus new carpets and factorystock Blenheim alloys with Pirelli P4000s, which have plenty of tread.

    The dash veneer was refinished at some time, and the front suspension was rebuilt in 2008, with new balljoints and bushes, plus new rear dampers. The gearbox and torque converter were reconditioned in 2007.

    It was last painted about five years ago, and remains shiny and even, bar a small run above the offside headlight. The bumper chrome is smart and the brightwork all lines up, though there’s one slightly wrinkled section on the driver’s door trim. Inside, as well as the fresh front hide, the rear seat is in very good shape and the headlining is excellent. The motor is tidy but not concours: its fluids are all clear and sweetsmelling, but we couldn’t lift the rad cap because the car had been driven over from Bristol’s workshop and these Chryslers retain a lot of heat.

    It starts instantly and sounds great, with no blows from the exhausts. This big-looking car shrinks around you and is a doddle to pilot even in tight traffic thanks to relative narrowness and a highish seat. The chassis is supple but not sloppy, with excellent handling, and you can almost feel that complex rear-axle location working for you. Prod is instant, kickdown almost as responsive, and the brakes pull up straight. Oil pressure is 60psi on the move, with temperature steady at 92ºC. Both electric windows work. There’s a small creak from at least one of the front wishbones but this will be sorted before sale, when the car will come with a new MoT.


    EXTERIOR Paint nice; roof vinyl excellent
    INTERIOR New front hide; carpets; veneers
    MECHANICALS Lots of ongoing care

    VALUE ★★★★★★★✩✩✩

    For Superb usable condition
    Against Not the most sombre décor for a Bristol

    A serious contender at not silly money. A lovely, friendly old thing that could easily be a daily driver and isn’t as far from concours as the works modestly likes to think.
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